The College of Engineering and Natural Sciences will offer a minor in neuroscience starting next semester. It will “allow students to gain an understanding of the structure and function of the brain and nervous system,” according to a fact sheet released by the department for the recent Tulsa Time event.
It will be both interdisciplinary and interdepartmental, with courses in biochemistry, biology, psychology and computer science.
According Dr. Estelle Levetin, chair of the Biology Department, neuroscience is “a rapidly expanding discipline” with the potential for lots of growth in the near future.
“Prospective students consistently asked the admissions office about neuroscience, so we figured it was time to add it to our offerings,” Levetin explained.
“Coupled with ongoing research at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, the increased demand provided us with a perfect opportunity to start the program.”
Levetin went on to say that TU already has undergraduate researchers at Laureate. The connection between TU and the research center is a strong one.
Neuroscience is especially appropriate for students considering graduate study in neuroscience or careers in medicine, occupational therapy, psychology and artificial intelligence.
As it stands, the minor will consist of seven classes. Four are required and the remaining three electives will be chosen by the student from a list of potential classes.
“We want to start with a minor. If there’s enough interest, hopefully we can move into offering a full-on major,” Levetin said. The minor will consist of 21 – 22 credit hours.
“Making the program a major will likely require the hiring of new faculty, so we’ll see how the minor goes,” she mentioned.
“I have three or four current students of mine already checking schedules in hopes of making the minor fit into their curriculum plans here,” Levetin exclaimed enthusiastically.
“I hope all biology and biochem students will look into this minor because many of the classes have prerequisite courses that those majors will have already taken.
“There are many careers in which a solid understanding of how the brain works can be useful,” Levetin stated. “Because of scientific advances today, we are learning more and more about the mind as new tools for study appear.”